Mixed martial arts is one of the most competitive sports on the planet, but some fighters differentiate themselves from others in their respective divisions and become dominant champions who hold on to their titles for years.
The Ten Most Dominant Champions In Mixed Martial Arts History
Let us jump right into our list of the most dominant champions in mixed martial arts history:
1) Jon Jones
There is simply no one to compare Jones to when it comes to dominance in MMA. Even the other dominant champions don’t come close when you compare their accomplishments side-by-side. Jones became the youngest champion in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s history when he knocked out Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. And he’s never legitimately lost the belt since then.
Sure, controversies have led to Jones getting stripped of the belt on multiple occasions, but no one has been able to hand him a legitimate loss in his entire career. Jones’ skills are typically too much for his opponents to keep up with, and when they can, his heart and desire to win typically get him through any adversity he runs into inside the cage.
Jones has successfully defended the UFC’s light-heavyweight title 11 times to date, and he’s currently preparing to make his debut at heavyweight.
2) Anderson Silva
Anderson “The Spider” Silva was arguably the most inspiring champion in the history of MMA. His cerebral approach to fighting wasn’t that common when he first started out, separating him from most fighters in his division. He wasn’t the most muscular guy on the planet, and some of his weird training drills seemed silly to inexperienced eyes.
Silva came into the Ultimate Fighting Championship as the Cage Rage middleweight champion, and he unified that belt with the UFC’s middleweight belt three fights into his UFC career. Silva then went on to successfully defend the belt ten times.
3) Khabib Nurmagomedov
Khabib Nurmagomedov is another name that always comes up often when the most dominant champions in MMA history are discussed. A native of Dagestan, Khabib is arguably the most dominant grappler in MMA history. His takedowns are virtually impossible to stop, and he bombards his opponents with heavy shots when he finally gets them on the ground.
Khabib successfully defended the UFC’s lightweight belt three times before retiring in 2020. He retired as the undisputed, undefeated lightweight champion, sporting a 29-0-0 professional MMA record.
4) Georges St. Pierre
Georges St. Pierre ended Matt Hughes’s reign as the most dominant champion in the history of the UFC’s welterweight champion (at the time) and went on to become the most dominant champion in welterweight history. There were virtually no controversial decisions during GSP’s reign as he dominated most challengers.
What separated GSP from other champions in UFC history was his ability to overcome obstacles that would have derailed the careers of other MMA fighters. He fell short when he first faced Hughes for the title, then came back to dethrone Hughes. He got knocked out during his first title defense, then came back to avenge the loss and reclaim the title.
He then defended the belt nine times before retiring from MMA. He came back four years later in 2017 to challenge Michael Bisping for the middleweight belt. He defeated Bisping for the belt, then retired as the middleweight champion.
Johnson is the longest reigning champion in the UFC’s history, successfully defending his belt 11 times. He had some quality competition during his reign, defeating big names like Henry Cejudo, Joseph Benavidez, and John Dodson.
Johnson’s reign eventually ended when he lost a controversial decision to Henry Cejudo during their rematch. He ended up getting traded to ONE Championship in a rare cross-promotion trade that sent Johnson to Asia while the UFC acquired Ben Askren.
6) Fedor Emelianenko
Fedor was one of the sport’s most dominant champions during the PRIDE era. A winner of the promotion’s heavyweight Grand Prix, Fedor went on a historic run, defending the heavyweight title three times and winning 27 consecutive MMA fights. His most famous victims during his reign include Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, Gary Goodridge, and Mirko Cro Cop.
7) Adriano Moraes
Moraes has dealt with his share of adversity inside and outside the cage, but that didn’t stop him from becoming one of the most dominant champions in the history of ONE Championship. He won the promotion’s flyweight title in 2014 and successfully defended it once before losing a split decision to Kairat Akhmetov.
He then put a couple of wins together before reclaiming the belt. Moraes successfully defended the belt once again before losing it via a split decision to Geje Eustaquio. He reclaimed the belt during his rematch with Eustaquio, winning via unanimous decision.
Moraes then scored the biggest win of his MMA career when Demetrious Johnson challenged him for the belt. Moraes pulled off one of the biggest upsets in MMA history, knocking Johnson out with a vicious knee, becoming the first man to finish DJ inside the cage.
8) Bibiano Fernandes
Fernandes made a name for himself at international BJJ tournaments before transitioning to mixed martial arts. He won the dream featherweight belt before signing with ONE Championship, and he earned a title shot after winning his debut. He defeated Soo Chul Kim to win the ONE Championship bantamweight title and successfully defended it six times before losing to Kevin Belingon.
Fernandez defeated Belingon during their rematch to reclaim the title and defeated him once again during their rubber match.
9) Israel Adesanya
“The Last Stylebender” has established himself as one of the biggest stars in MMA. An improved version of Anderson Silva, Adesanya’s striking is levels ahead of the rest of the competition. He defeated Kelvin Gastelum to win the interim title, then defeated Robert Whitaker to unify the title. He’s successfully defeated the belt five times since then.
10) Kamaru Usman
Usman shocked the world when he defeated Tyron Woodley to win the title, and he’s managed to put together an enviable winning streak, defeating the likes of Gilbert Burns, Colby Covington, and Jorge Masvidal twice.
You may also like: